What is place value?
Place value refers to the value of each digit in a number. Our number system contains numbers from zero through nine. Place value allows you to represent numbers that are greater than nine. The value of a digit is determined by identifying its position within the entire number. Since our number system is built on base-10, every place has a value that is ten times the value of the position immediately to the right. The number 675 has three places. The 6 is in the hundreds place, the 7 is in the tens place, and the 5 is in the ones place. This can be shown as 600 + 70 + 5.
Why is place value important to learn?
Place value is a tricky concept to master. Think about it. Students learn the value of 6, but are then told that when a 6 is placed here it’s 60 and if placed further to the left it’s 600. Place value is the backbone of many future skills. It is crucial to number identification and math computation. Students must grasp the value of every digit in a number in order to understand and solve math problems.
Young students struggle with place value because it is abstract. Children are concrete learners. Concentrated practice with various kinds of manipulatives help students link the abstract with more concrete examples of place value. Base-10 blocks are commonly used in helping students understand place value. Other popular manipulatives include Unifix cubes, beans and bean sticks, and play money.